Portland’s regional bus service broke a ridership record in 2018.

Buoyed by expanded service to Westbrook and South Portland, and a new line for University of Southern Maine students, the Greater Portland Transit District Metro bus service served 1.95 million riders in 2018.

That represents a 5 percent increase from the year before, according to a news release announcing the milestone.

“Metro’s ridership results demonstrate that high quality public transit works in southern Maine, but we have a lot more work to do,” said Metro General Manager Greg Jordan. “We need to continue modernizing the system, improving bus stops, and providing 21st century fare payment options while also improving affordability and increasing bus arrival frequency so we can get people to their destinations faster.”

Metro has seen a steady increase in ridership since 2013.

Last year, it expanded service between Portland/Riverton, Westbrook and South Portland, with continued service to Portland. It also introduced the Husky line, serving riders going to Portland, Westbrook and Gorham, and providing a transit link for Gorham residents. It also unveiled the U-Pass program, which offers free transit access between USM campuses and transit system for students, staff and faculty.

The service also added 11 new buses to its fleet and made other improvements to signage, branding and it launched a new website, which offers text alerts for system updates.

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